Vladimir Guerrero Rumors

Guerrero Intends To Play; Japan An Option

Vladimir Guerrero intends to play this season, agent Fern Cuza confirmed to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). If the 37-year-old doesn't have a job by the time Spring Training ends, he'll explore opportunities in Japan.

Guerrero had interest in joining the Yankees this offseason and he appeared to draw some interest from the Marlins. However, it's been a quiet offseason for Guerrero other than that.

Guerrero has 2,590 hits, 449 homers and a .318/.379/.553 line 16 seasons into a career that will probably deliver him to Cooperstown soon after he retires. In 590 plate appearances with the Orioles last year, the nine-time All-Star posted a .290/.317/.416 line with 13 homers.

Quick Hits: Guerrero, Lee, Gordon, Giolito

The Yankees signed Orlando Hernandez to a four-year, $6.6MM contract on this date 14 years ago. El Duque posted a 3.96 ERA in six seasons with New York and also made a number of memorable postseason starts as the Yankees won three consecutive World Series titles. Hernandez expressed interest in making a comeback as recently as last year, before officially retiring in August. Here are today's links…

  • Agent Fern Cuza told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Vladimir Guerrero “still wants to play.” Guerrero is waiting the right opportunity and has a strong preference for contenders (Twitter links).
  • Free agent first baseman Derrek Lee is open to the right opportunity and doesn’t plan to officially retire, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
  • Negotiations between the Royals and Alex Gordon are in their early stages, but are expected to pick up later this spring, according to Rosenthal. Gordon will almost certainly look to sign for more than $55MM, the current Royals record, Rosenthal writes.
  • It’s too early to predict which team will select high school right-hander Lucas Giolito, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). Giolito sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow yesterday.

Marlins Had Interest In Vladimir Guerrero

4:44pm: The Marlins are not pursuing Guerrero, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Miami is content with right-handed bench bats such as Aaron Rowand and Austin Kearns and Guerrero is not a fit in that role.

3:09pm: The Marlins are interested in shoring up their bench by signing Vladimir Guerrero, the veteran told Julio E. Castro C. at the Dominican paper El Caribe (link in Spanish). However, neither Guerrero nor manager Ozzie Guillen is entirely comfortable with what a move back to the National League would signify for the 37-year-old's career.

"The Marlins have shown interest in me, but to be on the bench or to pinch hit for the pitcher. Ozzie Guillen didn't like this, since he said I'm not that class of player," Guerrero told Castro. Guerrero shares this hesitancy, adding, "I don't consider myself a bench player, in spite of my age."

Despite Guillen's reservations, the match makes sense on paper. The Marlins' first options off the bench are currently lefties Chris Coghlan and Greg Dobbs, and Vlad and former Marlin Derrek Lee are the strongest remaining right-handed batters. Guerrero also said he considers himself a friend of Guillen, whom he met when the Venezuelan was the Expos' third base coach in 2001. "In addition to that, I know the Marlins' owner [Jeffrey Loria] very well, and I consider him a great person," Guerrero added.

Earlier this winter, Guerrero was reportedly open with the Yankees about his desire to fill their DH vacancy. In lieu of other offers, he indicated to Castro he was willing to return to the junior circuit after eight seasons away. "For the moment, I'll continue waiting for [the Marlins'] call," Guerrero said.

Poll: The Yankees’ Next DH

The Yankees freed up some money yesterday by agreeing to trade A.J. Burnett to the Pirates for two minor leaguers and a total of $13MM in salary relief. They’ll save $5MM in 2012 and $8MM in 2013. Reports indicate that they’re expected to sign both Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez once the trade becomes official.

Chavez will fill out the bench like last year, but Ibanez would step in as the left-handed half of a DH platoon with Andruw Jones. Even though Spring Training is right around the corner, there is no shortage of DH-type bats on the open market as our Free Agent Tracker shows. If the Yankees were to decide to pass on Ibanez, they could always turn to Vladimir Guerrero or former Yankees Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui. Guerrero is a right-handed hitter, however. They also signed Russell Branyan to a minor league contract recently.

Given Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch and the presence of Jones, it makes sense for the Yankees to pursue a left-handed bat. Ibanez hit .245/.289/.419 overall last year but .256/.307/.440 against righties, which is good but not great. Damon (.255/.314/.401) and Matsui (.242/.318/.336) weren’t any better against righties, and in fact Guerrero outperformed all three of those guys against northpaws (.291/.315/.428). The Yankees have no shortage of DH options, but which one is the best?

AL East Links: Vlad, Theo, Red Sox

One AL East player has avoided arbitration in designated hitter David Ortiz, and another is close in reliever Casey Janssen.  The latest from the division:

Damon & Guerrero Seek $5MM Deals

Teams say Johnny Damon and Vladimir Guerrero are looking for deals worth $5MM or so, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark tweets. The asking prices appear to be suppressing interest in the pair of designated hitters.

Though Damon and Guerrero are among the biggest names available in free agency, they haven't played the outfield regularly in years and will likely be limited to DH or bench jobs in 2012. At this point in the offseason, most AL teams have a DH in place and clubs have limited funds for complementary players, so the market for Damon and Guerrero doesn't appear strong.

Damon, 38, signed for $8MM in February of 2010 and for $5.25MM at the end of January, 2011. Guerrero also has experience signing late. The 36-year-old signed for $7.6MM in February of 2011.

Quick Hits: White Sox, Guerrero, Gonzalez, Hart

By this time tomorrow, we'll know whether the Rangers were able to work out a deal with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. In the meantime, here are tonight's links…

Free Agent Notes: Saito, Ayoki, Guerrero, Kazmir

Here are Wednesday's updates on a few players on the free agent market:

  • Takashi Saito's agent, Nez Balelo, says six to eight teams have shown interest in his client, who is open to playing in either league, tweets WEEI's Alex Speirer.
  • Balelo also tells Speier that Japanese outfielder and six-time NPB All-Star Norichika Aoki will be posted next Monday (Twitter link).
  • With milestones in reach, Vladimir Guerrero intends to keep playing, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (on Twitter).
  • Scott Kazmir will make his Dominican Winter League debut with the Escogido Lions tonight, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:

Quick Hits: Phillips, Kuroda, Ortiz, Wood, Counsell

It's been a busy first day of the GM meetings, but we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks. Here's a collection of assorted links from throughout the day: